Cinema Mishmash

A personal and random look at movies, past and present

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Entries from June 2009

Waltz with Bashir

June 25th, 2009 · No Comments

Filmmaker Ari Folman had difficultly getting financing for Waltz with Bashir, in part because no one would embrace the idea of making an animated documentary. Although animation has grown far outside the confines of the children’s “cartoon,” apparently Folman’s idea of an animated memoir, exploring his mental block surrounding his military service during the Israeli [...]

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Tags: Animation · Documentary · Drama · Foreign Language · Review · War

Cassandra’s Dream

June 23rd, 2009 · No Comments

One of the biggest assets that Woody Allen has as a director is his ability to assemble a tremendous array of talent for his pictures. Just about any actor seems to jump at the chance to be able to say he or she was in a Woody Allen picture, and as a result, some of [...]

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Tags: Capsule · Crime/Noir · Director · Drama · Thriller

Accidental Army: The Amazing True Story of the Czechoslovak Legion

June 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

I’ve never been a great student of military history. In fact, if you asked me to explain who was fighting whom in World War I, I would inevitably get it wrong. I just looked at the Wikipedia page to get my bearings, and after the second paragraph, my brain just begins to fog up. I [...]

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Tags: Capsule · Documentary · War

In the Realm of the Senses

June 21st, 2009 · No Comments

Having recently seen it’s companion piece, Empire of Passion, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, I was looking forward to seeing the Criterion Blu-ray version of the film for which director Nagisa Oshima is most recognized by western audiences: In the Realm of the Senses. While both Empire and Realm share a common narrative theme: [...]

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Tags: Biographical · Capsule · Drama · Foreign Language · Romance

Seven Pounds

June 20th, 2009 · No Comments

The difficulty with films which are released under a studio’s marketing campaign of secrecy (e.g., What is “Cloverfield,” What is “The Happening,” What does “Seven Pounds” mean?) is that unless the hype generates large initial box office draw (like Cloverfield), and enough word-of-mouth to cause a second wave of interest, the majority of moviegoers will [...]

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Tags: Drama · Review

Visioneers

June 18th, 2009 · 4 Comments

The winner of the 2009 biannual Christopher Wetzel Award for Independent Film Comedy, Visioneers is a film which does proud both the comedy genre and the notion that independent filmmaking stands for the courage to tell a truly different story in an extraordinary way. The film is the collective brainchild and first feature film of [...]

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Tags: Capsule · Comedy

Gran Torino

June 15th, 2009 · No Comments

For any artist, the ideal must be the ability to choose any project and have the resources to pursue it, without compromise and, if desired, without collaboration. For the consumer, if you will, the ideal is an artist with that type of freedom who has the talent and daring to not waste the opportunity. In [...]

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Tags: Capsule · Director · Drama

Revolutionary Road

June 14th, 2009 · No Comments

Unapologetically expressive storytelling isn’t always easy to take, but it can be a powerful experience. Based on the Richard Yates novel, Revolutionary Road is such an experience. The difficulty of the story – a suburban couple’s short lived yearning for a more fulfilling life – shouldn’t be overplayed. It’s not as if this is a [...]

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Tags: Drama · Review

Valkyrie

June 12th, 2009 · No Comments

Valkyrie tells the true story of Nazi army  Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) and the many men and women who formed an underground resistance movement against Hitler during World War II – from within the German armed forces.  Von Stauffenberg was the key figure in what was one of several attempts to assassinate Hitler, [...]

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Tags: Action/Adventure · Biographical · Capsule · Ensemble · Thriller · War

The International

June 11th, 2009 · No Comments

I’ve never been a huge sports fan, but imagine that if your favorite player, at the crucial point in the game, missed the free throw or strikes out, the pain is felt a little more strongly when you know that a great talent didn’t live up to your very personal expectations. That’s how I feel [...]

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Tags: Action/Adventure · Capsule · Director

Defiance

June 9th, 2009 · No Comments

Now that Quentin Tarrantino is getting attention (which he so hates) for his yet-to-be-released bloody World War II revisionist tale about a band of Jewish assassins (Inglourious Basterds), there is something even more striking about the fact that Edward Zwick’s Definance is based on a true story.  A couple of ruffian brothers lead an inconceivably large Jewish [...]

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Tags: Biographical · Capsule · Drama · Ensemble · War

Pygmalion

June 8th, 2009 · No Comments

For anyone familiar with My Fair Lady (captured on film in 1964), the musical version of Pygmalion, will be struck by just how similar the two works are. With a few exceptions, the screenplay for Pygmalion is simply My Fair Lady without the songs, some of which seem ready to just burst out of the actors at [...]

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Tags: Capsule · Comedy · Drama · Romance

10,000 B.C.

June 6th, 2009 · No Comments

Begin with something nice, I always say. With that in mind, and the Blu-ray disc of 10,000 B.C. has the nicest of beginnings. Which is to say, when one loads the disc in the player, the movie actually begins playing right away. No really, it’s true. No trailers, no cable TV series promotions, no guy [...]

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Tags: Action/Adventure · Capsule · Popcorn · Sci-Fi/Fantasy

The Secret Life of Bees

June 4th, 2009 · No Comments

The trailer for The Secret Life of Bees created an expectation that the movie would slowly build into into a overwrought, sentimental conflict movie. So I was not looking forward to the inevitable moment when my wife added it to our Netflix queue. I had expected that Queen Latifah’s August Boatwright and her sisters – conspicuously educated [...]

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Tags: Capsule · Drama

The Response

June 2nd, 2009 · No Comments

Actor/producer-turned-attorney Sig Libowitz, and director Adam Rodgers have shown a keen understanding of the one element missing from most courtroom dramas: restraint. While courtroom scenes in movies and television shows often have glaring factual inaccuracies, there is nothing more cringeworthy than when the filmmakers indulge in high-pitched drama in a forum which is governed by [...]

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Tags: Biographical · Capsule · Drama · Short · War